By: Daniel Smith, O.D.
With the Fourth of July festivities quickly approaching, it is important to consider a few important tips regarding fireworks safety. Remember that fireworks are more than just loud bangs and pretty colors—they are explosives capable of inflicting serious injury. Every year, thousands of Americans are injured by either by handling fireworks improperly or by being an unlucky bystander.
A recent Consumer Product Safety Commission report found that about 14% of these cases were eye related. Shrapnel and emissions from even the smallest fireworks can be devastating to delicate eye tissues, causing thermal and chemical burns, corneal lacerations, or in worse cases even rupture the globe of the eye. These can lead to permanent, irreversible vision loss or even blindness.
The #1 culprit for injuries were sparklers, which accounted for 14 percent of the estimated injuries during the month-long period around Independence Day. Contusions and lacerations accounted for most eye injuries, including foreign bodies lodged in the eye, the CPSC reported. It is suggested to refrain from purchasing sparklers. Heating up to 2,000 degrees or hotter, sparklers are the leading cause of firework injuries requiring trips to the emergency room.
We urge everyone to stay safe during their celebrations this year. Of course, the simplest and truly safest course of action is to forgo the use of personal fireworks and instead leave it to professionals. However, if you simply must use your own, please ensure to proper follow precautions and to review the manufacturer’s handling instructions and safety information.
In the event of any fireworks-related eye injury, it should be treated as a medical emergency. Seek care from the emergency room immediately, and do not attempt to rinse the eye or remove any debris, and refrain from rubbing or applying pressure to the eyes. All of us at Eye Specialists of Mid-Florida wish you a happy and safe Fourth of July!
Bio: Dr. Daniel Smith is a Board Certified Optometric Physician for Eye Specialists of Mid-Florida. He sees patients at their Clermont location. For more information visit https://www.eyesfl.com